Before I start reviewing these, here's some important information about the way that I review songs. Lyrics, to me, are the most important part of a song. Sadly, to most this isn't the case. It's also important to me that the lyrics match the music being played, unless set to unmatch in a sort of irony... like Wierd Al's sweet song about his significant other trying to kill him. You can write the most simplistic song in the world, even 3 chords, and with the power of the voice and words transform it into something people will never forget. Remember the song Creep, by Radiohead? Yeah, so do the rest of us.
In any contest when dealing with music, it's hard to not have a bias toward songs that appeal to your own tastes. For example, knowing nothing about rap or country would make it unfair for me to be judgemental about...so I'll do my very best to take every song apart the best way I know fairly and as indifferent as possible to the style of the music. On the other hand, if any of these songs sound like something I'd write... winner. ;)
1. TurboShandy - Guns: Great song about the way America looks at guns, accepts them, and treats them. Music matched the song well, too. And the progression was very interesting. I like it a lot. The constant changing speed of the beat can be a very powerful method and I think it was used very well to progress this song from start to finish. Really great job, here. Lyrically well written. Felt like there was a good amount of time spent on them. I feel like there's some really feeling behind them. And don't worry, nobody understands the 2nd Amendment. Oh, and it ends with a fade out! You can't go wrong with a fade out.
2. Jenny Katz - Next Nice Town: Good prodution, good build up from the slow start to really picking up when it hits the solo. The end was great too, slowing back down and popping right back into a powerful ending. The solo. I listened to it about 3 times. I feel like I'm heaing a bum note in there. Regardless, i wasn't keen on the solo, but I think it's going in the right direction. Maybe something a little less? I'm nitpicking. This is a great song, and I love the almost sarcastic direction of the lyrics. At least, that's the way I read them. The fact that we get to enjoy these kickass things...and oh by the way... children made that thing for you with their bloodied unpaid fingers. Noice. My kind of lyrics.
3. RC - An Equal Start: I like the vocals here. Good sound, good tone. Very nice. I like the progression of the song as well, the instruments used. Everything fits together and flows great. The acoustic sounds great. Lyrically nice and straight forward. A really good protest song. And a great topic, as well. Everyone should be given the equal chance...and it's just not the case in any way. I could imagine this song being play at a protest. Really good job. And hey, I'm from Madison, I know protests! :)
4. Edric Haleen - On The Matter Of Bullying: Well this song is a great big ball of musical, isn't it? So many lyrics! You're my hero! I used to think I wrote too many words in a single song. Good to know, I have some competition! Okay...so we've got a piano and a great voice...simple and outrageously powerful. These words, this voice, the way it's performed... it turns what is so little into something so great. I love this song. The song ends up being a little journey and so easy to envision and bring to life in my imagination. Incredible job. I'm jealous of the piano skills, as well.
5. Ross Durand - Don't Send Them Away: Oh, this song has good old fashioned Protest anti-war written all over it. I love it. I could hear a large crowd singing along to this... I'd be singing along! Powerful use of acoustic, bass & tamborine... and the powerful words and voice singing them. lyrically this song paints a great picture and gets a very simple point across. No more should be sacrificed. What else can I say? Well done.
6. Steve Durand - Just War: This is an interesting song. It's bordering on disco-ish. It's a very interesting approach on a protest song. I don't think I've ever heard anything like it. No, in fact, I know I've never heard anything like it. And hey, that's originality. When I read the lyrics without the music I imagine someone who's very disgusted with the subject at hand, so there's some clear emotion there. I like the arrangement. Well done.
7. Jerry Skids - The Separation Of State & Nothing: Now this is my kind of protest song. Straight up, in your face, to the point. This is lyrically powerful, it gets its point across and it does it with a great sing a long chorus. This song has very little instrumenation and relies entirely on the power of it's voice and it's words and it nails it from start to finish. I could imagine this being something out of Against Me! and that's a high bar to reach on a lyrical standpoint. Excellent.
8. The Middle Relievers - Love Builds Homes: Okay, so this song reminds me of David Bowie. The way it transitions, especially makes me think David Bowie. Very interesting progression/transitions. The music behind the lyrics really paint a good base for the lyrics/vocals as well. It's a very unique style and I don't hear many people write like this...especially in this day and age. I like it. Instrumentation is interesting as well, very nice. The trumpet almost sounds as annoyed with society as the lyrics.
9. Brian Gray - Walk (Live From Woodbury): Good music, good sound, great progression, I liked the solo section. Is this a production live song? It sounds like it is. 9 times out of 10 even the most popular artists in the world's live CDs aren't really live, but recorded to sound live in a studio. I've never been a fan of it. The emotion that comes with playing in front of a live crowd is always lost...of course if this isn't the case I'm just ranting for no good reason. hah! I had to read the lyrics a couple of time to truly get a feel for what message was being put across, and I must say I like the message, so good on you. Nice vocals, too. Good harmonies, I love harmonies.
10. Dr. Lindyke - The Square: Great piano work and great style choice. Interesting topic choice, too. Though, it's a bit dated but hey! Who give a crap. Good job. I love the chorus to this song. Vocally and musically the chorus is very powerful and the build up to the chorus is exciting. The verses felt a little sluggish vocally... though, I'll have to listen to it a few more times to to make any suggestions on it confidently... because the slower verse may be adding to what is a great chorus. Great job with the lounge/nightclub genre and style.
11. MC Ohm-I - If You Don't Like Gay Marriage: Ok, so here's my view on rap music. In the 80's when I heard rap songs they were typically clever. Many had something to say, clearly, and really well. Today, I don't hear that. 9 times out of 10 I hear songs rhyming made up words with made up words and as someone who finds lyrics so important that's just bullshit. Now this song on the other hand...holy shit. Great job. Great rhymes, great voice (also by the way), and really well put together. The music is great, it really compliments the rhymes. This is just a damn good arrangement that gets it's lyrical point across, and does it in a fun, memorable way. I want to hear more songs from this artist.
12. Kevin Savino-Riker - Dinosaur Sam: Let's start off with the voice. I like it. It's interesting, I want to hear more. Lyrics: this song is wordy. Very wordy. I like very wordy. However, with the style of the song I tend to get a bit lost trying to follow along. Great bass work, and great guitar work (really great), but I think they're making me pay attention to them more than the vocals. Like it's a fight to be the lead between all 3. Reading the lyrics by themselves without the music I'm a fan. I like the repetative question... what makes me/you so special? It's a great question, too. What does?! The US is ever changing and there are far too many people, it seems, trying to prevent change. Good job.
Now, I've been tasked with putting these in the order of my favorite to least favorite...which is just a disgusting request because even though I'm now a fan of every single one of these 12 songs it's going to look like those I put in the final spots I'm not a fan of...and that's just bullshit. I want to hear all these songs again and again. They're all fucking great. GREAT.
1. Edric Haleen - On The Matter of Bullying
2. MC Ohm-I - If You Don't Like Gay Marriage
3. Jerry skids - The Separation of Chruch & Nothing
4. Ross Durand - Don't Send Them Away
5. RC - Equal Start
6. Jenny Katz - Next Nice Town
7. TurboShandy - Guns
8. The Middle Relievers - Love Build Homes
9. dr. lindyke - the square
10. steve durand - just war
11. Brian Gray - Walk (Live)
12. Kevin Savino-Riker - Dinosaur Sam